#InTheLoop | Queens College Museum Displays South African Bead Art
BY QEDC It's In Queens
Ubuhle, a new form of bead art developed by women in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is coming to Queens.
Ndwango, a plain black fabric, is a main component. Using skills handed down through generations, crafters stretch the textile into abstract and figurative subjects. A single panel can take more than a year to complete.
Godwin-Ternbach Museum will host an opening reception for Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence on Wednesday, Oct. 4, from 6 pm to 8 pm. The exhibition will then be on display through Jan. 11, 2024.
Attendance is free, but please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ubuhle means “beauty” in the Xhosa and Zulu languages. The art form was established on a sugar plantation north of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal in 1999, when Ntombephi Ntobela and Bev Gibson became friends. Ntombephi is a master beader from the Eastern Cape. Bev, who has a formal education, accesses the international art world.
For decades, the cane-cutting workforce in KwaZulu-Natal consisted mostly of indentured laborers from the Indian subcontinent. But from the late 19th century onwards, Xhosa migrants began to replace them. Ubuhle beading is one result of this ethnic mix.
Godwin-Ternbach is on Queens College’s Flushing campus at 65-30 Kissena Blvd., 405 Klapper. Part of the Kupferberg Center for the Visual and Performing Arts, the venue presents contemporary and historical exhibitions. Contact the museum beforehand — Louise Weinberg at email@example.com or 718.997.4736 — for gallery hours.
Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence was developed by the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, Washington, DC, in cooperation with Curators Bev Gibson, Ubuhle Beads, and James Green. It’s organized for tour by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.
Images: Godwin-Ternbach Museum